Egypt urges pilgrims to delay ritual over coronavirus outbreak
By Islam Mosaad, Wednesday, April 30, 2014
CAIRO – Egypt's Health Ministry on Wednesday advised would-be pilgrims to delay this year's pilgrimage because of the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), commonly known as coronavirus.
In a statement, the ministry urged people less than 15 year old, elders, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases to postpone the ritual.
"This warning comes over the rising numbers of coronavirus infections in Saudi Arabia," the ministry said.
Egypt reported its first coronavirus case earlier this week, saying the disease was detected in an Egyptian engineer coming from Saudi Arabia.
Along with Saudi Arabia, the virus has been reported in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt and Oman.
Symptoms, which include persistent fever and cough, are similar to those associated with the SARS virus.
MERS, for which no known cure is available, destroys the lungs and kidneys. It is presumed that long-term physical contact can lead to infection.
Muslims can perform the minor pilgrimage at any time of the year, but the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) ritual is performed only once a year in the 12th month of the Islamic calendar.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency